The Merritt Secondary School’s track and field team competed in the ‘Battle of BC’ on Saturday, April 30, at the TRU Hillside Stadium in Kamloops.
This is the first meet MSS has entered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m quite happy we have 10 athletes this year,” said Randy Sheldon, head coach of the MSS track and field team.

“It’s been quite a challenge for a lot of families and athletes just to play sports and now that things are opening up, we will continue to build from here.”

The following is the list of MSS athletes finishing in the top 3 of their respective events;

Sophia Thomson – (1st place) Grade 8 women’s Discus Throw 1 kg
Michaela Nicholls – (3rd place) Junior women’s 200 metre dash
Rae Bassett – (3rd place) Junior women’s triple jump
Sophia Thomson – (2nd place) Grade 8 women’s javelin throw 500 g
Ryland Sheldon – (2nd place) Junior men’s 100 m dash

“Considering that we haven’t had track and field for a couple of years, I think they did really well,” Sheldon explained.

“The majority of my athletes have never been to an event like this. They’ve never seen a high school meet ran by officials.”

Aside from COVID-19 protocol, the team faces another challenge as their training grounds at Voght Park were ruined by the flood. This means that they have no place to train for upcoming meets. Luckily, Judy Armstrong, president of the Kamloops Track and Field Club, has welcomed MSS to their own training grounds.

“We’re very thankful for the Kamloops Track and Field Club,” said Sheldon.

“They are allowing us to train with them on Saturdays. We’re combining our teams during Saturdays where one of their coaches are training the sprinters while I’ve been taking care of the jumpers and Misty would teach some throwing.”

Sheldon is coaching a team with no history with High School track and field. The Panthers are made up of athletes from grade 8-10. This maybe a challenge but Sheldon admire the team’s enthusiasm for the sport.

“I would say the overall feeling is that we’re just so happy to put spikes back on the track,” said Sheldon.

“Instead of looking behind us, at what we missed, we’re just looking ahead to what we can now have; friendly competition, meeting new people, and getting back on the track.”

The Panthers will hit the ground running as they are now set to compete at the Dylan Armstrong meet on Saturday, May 7 in Kamloops. This meet will serve as a qualifier for the BC Summer Games.

“This will be our second meet out and some of our kids can take what they’ve learned from the first track meet and apply it here,” Sheldon explained.

“We’re just hoping to get a couple of personal bests. We’ll see if we can get a little bit better as we work our way to the West Zone Championships which is on the 11th (May) in Kamloops.”